The Meta Model

Meta Model Deletions

Meta model deletions are how we pay attention to some parts of our experiences and not others. Really, we ignore or selectively attend more than we actually delete them, but hey, that’s what NLP- Neuro Linguistic Programming calls it.

When you ask a teenager “How was your day?” there is probably a lot he has deleted with his “Good” answer. Also lots you have deleted in the question itself. Open questions are like that.The millions of sights, sounds, smells and feelings in the external environment and our internal world would overwhelm us if we didn’t delete most of them. Deleting enables us for instance to talk on the phone in the middle of a crowded room. We tune in to what is important like hearing our name mentioned at a party.

Limiting Choices

We are also deleting information when we think of ourselves as having limited choices. We often overlook problem-solving strategies that recover deleted choices. Our habits and ways of doing things hide other options. I often hear people say “I’ve tried everything and nothing works” A little digging reveals two things they did half-heartedly.

Meta Model Deletions and Misunderstandings

It is easy to misunderstand someone’s communicating when you don’t understand what he or she has left out. If a child says she is hurt and won’t elaborate, you don’t know whether to call an ambulance or give her a hug.

It is also difficult to get your intended meaning to the other. Have you ever said something like “Can you please fix this report?” meaning to correct spelling mistakes and they have made it an extra five pages or some such?

Negative Feelings

We remember the things that are important or significant to us. Out of all the millions of experiences in the 10 or so years of childhood, most people will remember half a dozen clearly.

If someone said to you “I will give you a million dollars if you can prove to me you had a happy, exciting, miserable or boring childhood” most could find some very convincing stories. Unfortunately many people use this absolutely extraordinary and powerful capability to make themselves miserable.

Unspecified Nouns – Who or What

Unspecified nouns are nouns (the person/being or thing part) where you don’t know who (NLP calls this a lack of referential index) or what they are talking about.

Unspecified Verbs – Understanding the Process

Unspecified verbs are verbs (the doing part) in a sentence that don’t fully describe the action taking place. They don’t give enough information to let you know what is going on for them. People usually fill in the gap with their own experience – called mind reading.

Simple deletions

Simple deletions are where we leave out or lose part of the meaning. You can notice them in sentences with it and that. Also when referring to missing descriptions (adjectives) – as in “Please give me the report.”

Comparative deletions

Comparative deletions are where we make a comparison but don’t explain what we are comparing. There is some kind of standard involved.

Ly Adverbs – Obviously this is Useful

Ly Adverbs are words with an “ly” on the end, like unfortunately. These are sneaky things, because the judgment underneath slips under our radar. We tend to accept the sentence without questioning whether it is true.

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